The Best Foodie Experiences and Food Tours in the Bay of Islands
Dine on local seafood, drink wine straight from the winery, taste handmade chocolates at the factory, sail the bay while indulging on a gourmet lunch… It’s all waiting for foodies in the Bay of Islands. With its subtropical climate, the Bay of Islands is a fabulous yet underrated fruit-growing and wine region, which provides boutique winery and artisan experiences to please any food-lover. Friendly locals are eager to share the local flavours with you, whether through the farmers’ market, restaurants or even in their own home with a cooking class. Intrigued? We’ll go into more detail in this list of the best things to do in the Bay of Islands for foodies!
And while you’re here, don’t miss The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands and 10 Best Accommodation in the Bay of Islands for Foodies.
1. Experience the Bay Through a Wine Tour
The Bay of Islands is one of the most underrated wine-growing regions of New Zealand, which means you’ll get a truly off-the-beaten-track feel for any winery visit or wine tour you’ll experience here. For instance, hop on a winery tour with Rogue Pony who offer unique private tours in a luxury Jeep or Mustang. They do winery-hopping tours if you want to make the most of the local wine scene, while their scenic tours explore some of the natural and historical attractions with a winery lunch included. Find out more about Rogue Pony’s tours on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, see more private tours in our 8 Luxury Activities in the Bay of Islands.
Location: Pick-ups are available from accommodations in Paihia and Kerikeri.
2. Explore the Senses on a Wine, Craft Beer and Chocolate Tour
Enjoy more variety with Mullarkeys Tours who combine a variety of food and drink experiences on their wine and craft beer tour. This half-day activity includes a visit to the Ake Ake Vineyard for a vineyard tour and tasting before travelling to the Marsden Estate for more tastings over a scenic lake setting. Next, it’s off to Makana Confections for tasting handmade gourmet chocolates. Then your tour concludes with a beer tasting and a lunch platter at The Plough & Feather Tap Room. More details on Mullarkeys Tours can be found on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Tours depart from the Paihia i-SITE.
3. Mingle with the Locals at the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market
Meet a passionate group of local growers and artisans at the Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market. This free event takes place every Thursday afternoon in Paihia and every Sunday morning in Kerikeri, where you can taste and purchase a range of locally grown produce, cheese, preserves, free-range eggs, artisan goods, beverages and more. The markets happen whatever the weather, so don’t miss out!
Location: Paihia – The Village Green, 60 Marsden Road and Kerikeri – Post Office Carpark, 10 Hobson Avenue.
4. Do a Bay of Islands’ Market Tour and Cooking Class
Speaking of markets, take the experience to the next level with a market tour and vegetarian cooking class! Anna from the Travelling Spoon will take you on a gastronomical journey as you learn about the local culture through its food. After a local market tour, you’ll head to Anna’s 140-year-old kauri villa to learn how to make a vegetarian or vegan barbecue or a meal influenced by Middle-eastern, Italian, Asian or Mexican flavours. Learn more about this experience on Viator and Tripadvisor.
5. Indulge in a Sailing Cruise with a Gourmet Lunch
It would almost be a crime to visit the Bay of Islands and not get out on the water. Don’t worry, you can even do this through a foodie experience with Sunkissed Gourmet Sailing Adventures. While sailing between the bay’s 144 islands, stopping for an island hike, snorkelling and relaxing, the crew will prepare a gourmet lunch onboard from scratch. Either dine onboard or on the beach on a meal such as, barbecued butterflied lamb leg served with a Mediterranean grilled vegetable salad with chimichurri and ciabatta. Find out more about Sunkissed Gourmet Sailing Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Location: Tours depart from Paihia Wharf.
6. Watch Chocolate Goodness in the Making
A free way to experience the tastes of the Bay of Islands is at Makana Confections in Kerikeri. Watch chocolates being handmade in their chocolate factory, which has large windows looking in from their gift shop. Next door is their cafe with all sorts of irresistible treats. For more ways to experience the Bay of Islands on a budget, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in the Bay of Islands.
Location: 504 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri.
7. Dine on Fresh Seafood, Taste Local Wines and More at the Bay of Islands’ Restaurants
From some of the oldest pubs and restaurants in the country to lavish wineries to classic Kiwi fish and chips, the Bay of Islands food scene is fun and varied. Spend some time in Kerikeri to make the most of vineyard restaurants such as at the Ake Ake Vineyard (165 Waimate North Road), sample fresh seafood at the Tipsy Oyster Tapas & Bar (24 Kings Road, Paihia) or try some classic Kiwi-style fish and chips at JFC (40 Marsden Road). A visit to the bay is not complete until you’ve tasted some Bay of Islands’ gourmet ice cream, such as at Cellini’s Ice Cream & Espresso (Williams Road, Paihia) or Delish Coffee and Ice Cream (4 Cass Street, Russell). For more recommendations, head over to The Foodie Guide to the Bay of Islands.